About a year ago, I was researching fiber-based holidays when I discovered that March was National Crochet Month. Founded by the Crochet Guild of America in 1998, National Crochet Month initially began as a week-long focus on the craft of crochet, usually beginning on the third Monday of March. Then, in 2005, the week was extended to the whole of March.
The stated purpose of National Crochet Month is to promote and encourage the craft of crochet by engaging newbies and masters, alike. The Crochet Guild of America also uses it as a way to raise their profile and encourage new memberships through various events, including Crochet-alongs (CALs) and volunteerism. The history of crochet isn't as well documented as other forms of fiber art.
Annie Potter, a master crocheter, suggests that there are three theories about the origins of crochet, with one suggesting that it originated in Arabia, another in South America, and a third in China, but there is scant archaeological evidence for such claims. Researchers suggest that the earliest evidence of crochet in Europe dates to about 1800, when it was used as a way to imitate lace. Beginning in France, it eventually made its way to England and then to Ireland, where, during the Irish Potato Famine, the English organized the Irish into crochet cooperatives that produced fine crochet lace pieces that the English sold for exorbitant amounts of money to the wealthy but only passed a pittance on to the crafters. Irish emigrants fleeing the Famine, then, brought their fiber skills to America, and the craft of crochet has continued to flourish ever since as crocheters began to use crochet for more than just lacework, producing garments, toys, afghans, and other household items. This development brings us to National Crochet Month.
Two years ago, Edie Eckman posted ten ideas for celebrating National Crochet Month on her website. Some of those suggestions included crocheting in public, teaching someone else how to crochet, adding a bit of crochet to something unexpected, and joining a Crochet-Along.
Lately, a number of yarn companies have been making a concerted effort to take crochet out of the realm of the granny square by creating updated and modern patterns, making crochet-specific kits, and highlighting crocheted projects in publications. For example, check out Wonderland Yarn's Blossoms and DeStitchNation kits for 2022; Wonderland has been alternating each month so that one month the kits will include a knit pattern and the next they'll include a crochet pattern. This is, in part, because last year's efforts to alternate with the Blossoms Garden Society Kits between knit and crochet patterns was so successful.
Also, the list of famous people who crochet has also grown, as Vice President Kamala Harris is a crocheter and shortly after taking office shopped at a Maryland LYS. Similarly, Broadway and television actress Sutton Foster is an avid crocheter, which she chronicles in her book, Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life. In fact, Foster even began a crochet circle while working on the series Younger with Hilary Duff.
Happy National Crochet Month!